What I Am Today-The Gospel Collection
MARTY WENDELL Marty Wendell was born and raised in upstate New York. While still in Elementary School in the 1950's he was strongly influenced by the new sound of artists who recorded on Sun Records from Memphis, Tennessee. He entered a church talent show and his first experience in front of a live audience cemented his desire to sing and record songs. During High School he began to write his own songs and in his College years began to perform more at the height of the folk fad. He met a talent agent named Jerry Teifer who worked out of the famous Brill Building in New York City and who introduced him to folk and country artist, Johnny Cash. About the same time Marty ventured into New York's Greenwich Village with his guitar and was discovered by a producer named Stanley Rowland. This resulted in his first recording session in New York City and the release of his self-penned song, "Hey Hey Mama". In 1968 on the strength of this song he was booked as an opening act for Johnny Cash who toured with Carl Perkins,The Carter Family and the Statler Brothers and had released his Live At Folsom Prison album which turned him into a superstar. Marty released several singles receiving both national and international airplay. In the late 1960's he worked out of Washington, D.C. being booked by the Claiborne Agency that handled mainly Rhythm & Blues Artists such as Peaches and Herb. At this time he also became friends with Ralph Rinzler, a founder of the Newport Folk Festival. He encouraged Marty to continue singing and writing original songs. In the 1970's he returned to upstate New York and maintained a grueling schedule of club and fair dates in several states and in 1977 he began hosting an annual music festival that continued for 20 years and drew diverse artists including Lee Moore, Bandana, Oak Ridge Boy, William Lee Golden and former Statler Brother, Lew Dewitt. Marty became friends with Lew when he was with the Johnny Cash Show. In the early 1980's Marty quit the club circuit and began to focus on his recording and performed only in concert settings. He became sought after as an opening act for national artists and he shared the stage with artists such as John Anderson, Lacy J. Dalton, T.G. Shepard, the Hager Twins, bluesman T. Graham Brown and folk icon, Arlo Guthrie. In the 1990's his son, Sean, became his producer and together they created some totally new music on the albums "Labor Of Love", 'The Journey' and "Over The Edge" which features two songs recorded at the legendary Sun Studio, Memphis, TN. One of the songs was a duet with Planet Swan, the daughter of rockabilly legend Billy Swan. Marty had come to record in the place that began it all. Marty and Sean were guests of Johnny Cash on his final tour after which illness prevented him from taking the stage again. Again it had come full circle. In celebration of his 40 years as a recording artist in 2005 Marty released the album "It's Just Me" with just Marty and his guitar performing songs from the Greenwich Village era. In 2007 he was signed by a new record label, Simply 21 Records, and released "Rockabilly Heart" an album of songs about growing up at the birth of Rock & Roll. Sean Wendell produced this album with the musicians playing together live in the studio the way it was done in 50's. The album liner contains a classic photo gallery and comments from Marshall Grant, Johnny Cash's original bass player. There is a tribute song to Cash that is completed by words from the man himself. In 2008 his new release is "What I Am Today - The Gospel Collection. This album brings together some of his best writing. These are very unique Gospel songs and some of them share autobiographical glimpses. There has been much positive response to this album already. If you are not familiar with Marty Wendell you have a real treat in store. He continues to record fresh and meaningful songs. There is no artist more original!